Samsung Galaxy S8 launches tomorrow in New York and London at around 8.30 pm IST, and this is the big one. The phone comes after Samsung’s fiasco with the Galaxy Note 7, which was being seen as the best Android phone and a challenger to the iPhone 7 Plus. But all of that went up in flames, literally in some cases.
For Samsung, Galaxy S8 is the flagship that can’t afford to fail.
Now with these phones leaks have revealed pretty much everything. Thanks to Evan Blass aka @evleaks on Twitter, we know what the phone looks like, that it’s coming in a black, grey and gold version, there are no bezels on the sides of the display, there’s no home button. So what are the features we know for sure are coming with the new Galaxy S8, S8+ on the hardware and software side? And what should you expect from them?
Here’s a quick look:
Samsung Galaxy S8 is launching in two versions, and the display size is not small. The 5.1-inch display is gone, and now the S8 will start at a 5.8-inch display, along with a 6.2-inch 2K display, with of course Samsung’s own SUPER AMOLED screen. Also the dual-edge curve will be present on both phones, it’s a bezel-less display, and the home button is gone from the front. Will Samsung introduce 3D Touch technology like we’ve seen on the Apple iPhone 6s, 7 series? It remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look like this is happening.
Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+’s specifications are expected to be as follows: Snapdragon 835 processors, which are made with Samsung’s own 10nm FinFET technology, though India market will get the Exynos 8895 processors as has been the case.
RAM is rumoured to be 4GB, storage could be bumped up to 256GB, microSD support will be there. The camera specs will be 12MP on the back; the dual camera bit is not happening this year. Samsung will improve the Dual Pixel technology we saw on the S7, S7 edge last year, though. The front camera will be 8MP, according to leaks, and yes Samsung Galaxy S8 will also sport an Iris scanner on the front.
On the battery side, S8 will have a 3000 mAh one, while S8+ gets 3500 mAh. Finally, Type-C USB charging is expected on the new phones; Note 7 had a Type-C USB, so this is not surprising. Also Samsung is not yet killing the headphone jack it would appear.
This is the bit where the Galaxy S8 and S8+ could be interesting. Now Samsung had an assistant on its phone, anyone remember S-Voice, but it hasn’t become a brand name like say Siri or Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana.
Bixby wants to change all of that, and Samsung has given us plenty of details about this AI-based voice assistant. won’t just be restricted to Samsung’s phones. Remember Samsung has smart fridges, television sets, and a lot range of consumer electronics. Bixby could be linking all of them.
For Samsung, Bixby is pretty important, and this is getting its own button on the next phones. Now according to Samsung, any-app that gets Bixby-enabled will ensure that the voice-assistant can then do all the tasks of the app. So say if Bixby gets Uber support, then you’ll be able to book your cab, make payments, check cab availability, rate drivers all from Bixby. In contrast, a Siri or Amazon Alexa (on the Echo) will let you book and Uber, and call for one. Payments, ratings, etc are all still done via the actual app. Bixby plans to do everything an app can do, and could be a game changer.
According to Samsung, Bixby will also be context-aware, meaning whenever Bixby is called in app, it will be able to figure out the current state and help users “carry out the current work-in-progress continuously,” says a blogpost. Users will also be able to weave touch and voice in the context of the app, and we’ll have to see in the demo, how Bixby is able to perform this.
Samsung also claims Bixby will be “smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information.” But let’s not forget that for Bixby to be a success, users will need to actually use this functionality a lot more. Currently Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the favourites in the smart assistant world; and the former we know is king when it comes to data.
The other bit about the Galaxy S8 that Samsung has officially revealed to the world is the overhauled ringtone. “Over the Horizon”, which is the default ringtone on Samsung Galaxy phones have been revamped in partnership with Grammy Award-winning artist Jacob Collier. Samsung also shared a YouTube video with the new ringtone, and it has six notes within a different musical genre.
Samsung is also expected to launch a desktop dock for the Galaxy S8 which will be called the DeX Station. This will convert the S8/S8+ as though it is PC, and will have USB 2.0 ports,an Ethernet port, an HDMI output. There’s also going to be an integrated fan on this as well. Whether this has better luck than the Microsoft Lumia Dock remains to be seen.